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Key All Blacks v Lions player matchups

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/06/2017 Daniel Gilhooly

12 - Sonny Bill Williams v Ben Te'o

Te'o won narrowly on points when these heavyweights clashed twice in their NRL days. Their first rugby union showdown will have a league feel to it, with ownership of the advantage line the prize.

10 - Beauden Barrett v Owen Farrell

The most influential player in both teams. Give him space and Barrett will make the tourists pay, heavily. Shut him down and the Lions can slowly take control through Farrell's game management.

9 - Aaron Smith v Conor Murray

The Irishman has probably nudged ahead as the world's best halfback. Comparisons are difficult though. Quicksilver Smith can spark the All Blacks with his speed and passing while Murray has a kicking boot to envy.

8 - Kieran Read v Toby Faletau

Read can't afford to ease his way back from a seven-week injury break. His lineout prowess, offloading and leadership are core parts of the NZ machine. Faletau is a rare athletic forward among the tourists and has stood tall so far.

3/1 - Owen Franks v Mako Vunipola

Cornerstones of their respective set pieces. Vunipola and his front row colleagues will have emerged happiest from the messy pre-Test scrum showdown when the Lions squeezed the Crusaders in Christchurch.

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